HL Deb 04 November 1813 vol 27 cc1-22

This being the first day of the Session, the doors of the House were opened early, and the greater part of the Peers' seats were soon occupied by a great number of ladies elegantly dressed. Several of the foreign ministers were also in the body of the House.

At two o'clock his royal highness the Prince Regent entered the House in procession; the earl of Liverpool carrying the Sword of State; the marquis of Winchester the Cap of Maintenance; the Crown and the Prince's Coronet being also borne, and the procession being made with all the accustomed state. His Royal Highness was attired in his robes, worn over a field marshal's uniform, and with a military hat. Having taken his seat on the throne, Mr. Quarme, the Deputy Usher of the Black Rod; was sent to the Commons to command their attendance. Soon afterwards, the Speaker, in his full dress robes, accompanied by a great number of members, came to the bar; when the Prince Regent delivered the following Speech:—

"My Lord, and Gentlemen,

"It is with the deepest regret that I am again obliged to announce to you the continuance of his Majesty's lamented indisposition.

"The great and splendid success with which it has pleased Divine Providence to bless his Majesty's arms, and those of his Allies, in the course of the present campaign, has been productive of the most important consequences to Europe.

"In Spain the glorious and decisive victory obtained near Vittoria has been followed by the advance of the allied forces to the Pyrenees, by the repulse of the enemy in every attempt to regain the ground he had been compelled to abandon, by the reduction of the fortress of Saint Sebastian, and finally by the establishment of the allied army on the frontier of France.

"In this series of brilliant operations, you will have observed, with the highest satisfaction, the consummate skill and ability of the great commander Field Marshal the Marquis of Wellington, and the steadiness and unconquerable spirit which have been equally displayed by the troops of the three nations united under his command.

"The termination of the armistice in the North of Europe, and the Declaration of War by the emperor of Austria against France, have been most happily accompanied by a system of cordial union and concert amongst the allied powers.

"The effects of this union have even surpassed those expectations which it was calculated to excite.

"By the signal victories obtained over the French armies in Silesia, at Culm, and at Denevitz, the efforts of the enemy to penetrate into the heart of the Austrian and Prussian territories were completely frustrated.

"These successes have been followed by a course of operations, combined with so much judgment, and executed with such consummate prudence, vigour, and ability, as to have led in their result not only to the discomfiture of all those projects which the Ruler of France had so presumptuously announced on the renewal of the contest, but to the capture and destruction of the greater part of the army under his immediate command.

"The annals of Europe afford no example of victories more splendid and decisive than those which have been recently achieved in Saxony.

"Whilst the perseverance and gallantry displayed by the allied forces of every description engaged in this conflict have exalted to the highest pitch of glory their military character, you will, I am persuaded, agree with me in rendering the full tribute of applause to those sovereigns and princes, who, in this sacred cause of national independence, have so eminently distinguished themselves as the leaders of the armies of their respective nations.

"With such a prospect before you, I am satisfied that I may rely with the fullest confidence on your disposition to enable me to afford the necessary assistance in support of a system of alliance, Which, originating chiefly in the magnanimous and disinterested views of the emperor of Russia, and followed up as it has been with corresponding energy by the other allied powers, has produced a change the most momentous in the affairs of the continent.

"I shall direct copies of the several conventions which I have concluded with the northern powers to be laid before you, as soon as the ratifications of them shall have been duly exchanged.

"I have further to acquaint you, that I have concluded a Treaty of Alliance and Concert with the emperor, of Austria, and that the powerful league already formed bas received an important addition of force by the Declaration of Bavaria against France.

"I am confident you will view with particular satisfaction the renewal of the ancient connection with the Austrian government; and that, justly appreciating all the value of the accession of that great power to the common cause, you will be prepared, as far as circumstances may permit, to enable me to support his imperial Majesty in the vigorous prosecution of the contest.

"The war between this country and the United States of America still continues; but I have the satisfaction to inform you, that the measures adopted by the government of the United States for the conquest of Canada have been frustrated by the valour of his Majesty's troops, and by the zeal and loyalty of his American subjects.

"Whilst Great Britain, in conjunction with her Allies, is exerting her utmost strength against the common enemy of independent nations, it must be matter of deep regret to find an additional enemy in the government of a country whose real interest in the issue of this great contest must be the same as our own.

"It is known to the world; that this country was not the aggressor in this war.

"I have not hitherto seen any disposition on the part of the government of the United States to close it, of which I could avail myself consistently with a due attention to the interests of his Majesty's subjects.

"I am at all times ready to enter into discussion with that government for a conciliatory adjustment of the differences between the two countries, upon principles of perfect reciprocity not inconsistent with the established maxims of public law and with the maritime rights of the British empire.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"I have directed the Estimates for the services of the ensuing year to, be laid before you.

"I regret the necessity of so large an expenditure, which I am confident however you, will judge to be unavoidable, when the extent and nature of our military exertions are considered.

"I entertain no doubt of your readiness to furnish such supplies as the public service may require.

"I congratulate you on the improved and flourishing state of our commerce; and I trust that the abundant harvest which we have received from the bountiful hand of Providence during the present year will afford material relief to his Majesty's people, and produce a considerable augmentation in many branches of the revenue.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"I congratulate you on the decided conviction which now happily prevails throughout so large a portion of Europe, that the war in which the allied powers are engaged against the Ruler of France is a war of necessity; and that his views of universal dominion can only be defeated by combined and determined resistance.

"The public spirit and national enthusiasm which have successively accomplished the deliverance of the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, and of the Russian empire, now equally animate the German people; and we may justly entertain the fullest confidence that the same perseverance on their part will ultimately lead to the same glorious result.

"I cannot but deplore most deeply the continuance of this extended warfare, and of all those miseries which the insatiable ambition of the Ruler of France has so long inflicted upon Europe.

"No disposition to require from France sacrifices of any description inconsistent with her honour or just pretensions as a nation will ever be on my part, or on that of his Majesty's allies, an obstacle to peace.

"The restoration of that great blessing upon principles of justice and equality has never ceased to be my anxious wish; but I am fully convinced that it can only be obtained by a continuance of those efforts which have already delivered so large a part of Europe from the power of the enemy.

"To the firmness and perseverance of this country these advantages may in a great degree be ascribed. Let this consideration animate as to new exertions, and we shall thus I trust be enabled to bring this long and arduous contest to a conclusion which will be consistent with the independence of all the nations engaged in it, and with the general security of Europe."

The Speaker and the Commons made their obeisances and retired; and the Prince Regent withdrew from the House in procession, with the same state as on his entrance; a discharge of artillery announcing his departure.

The ladies and foreign ministers then quitted the House.

The House adjourned during pleasure, and resumed about five o'clock; when the business commenced by the Lord Chancellor reading the Prince Regent's Speech, which was immediately afterwards again read by the Clerk at the table.

The Earl of Digby

moved the Address. His lordship spoke for a short time; but in so low a tone of voice, that not a sentence could be heard below the bar.

The Address having been read by the Lord Chancellor,

The Earl of Clare

rose to second it. His lordship lamented his own insufficiency upon such an occasion; but observed, that the brilliant course of events, upon which he had now to congratulate their lordships, was sufficient to inspire the humblest individual, and chèer the most diffident and unassuming. Whichever way they turned their eyes, British valour shone conspicuous, and the British standard waved triumphant. When they saw that the firmness of this country, in continuing the conflict with France, had led the way to that spirit of resistance to French domination which had now triumphed over all the power and resources of the French ruler; when they saw the ports of Europe opened to the commerce of Britain; and when they saw the British standard waving triumphant upon the territory of France; surely these were events that justly gave cause for exultation at the proud eminence of glory which the British empire had attained. If one dark spot clouded the scene of glory, if the lamented continuance of his Majesty's indisposition prevented him from participating in the joy and exultation of his people, they must reflect that perfect happiness was not the lot of man, and they might be assured that that people would not fail to recollect the benignant rule of their monarch who for fifty years had guided the helm of state with a steady and unerring hand; ever attentive to the interests of his subjects, and ever anxious to promote and increase their welfare. He sincerely congratulated their lordships upon the glorious events which now so justly formed the theme for exultation. To this country was Europe indebted for maintaining, with a firm and steady hand, the conflict With all the power of France; until in the peninsula, under the auspices of a great and illustrious commander, our military renown had rivalled the splendid achievements of our navy, and the laurels Wreathed round our military standards had vied with the triumph of our fleets. There was that spirit which animated the Spaniards, cherished and maintained by British assistance and co-operation, till it communicated its inspiring feelings to the nations of Europe, and finally whelmed in destruction the army of the ruler of France. By her councils, Britain had animated the Spanish nation; by her arms, assisted them; and posterity would regard with admiration the arduous struggle that had been thus nobly maintained. That Spanish and Portuguese troops had fought in line with the British army, was to them no small praise; and it was due to them, to record the bravery with which they had sustained their military character. The great, the brilliant events that had now occurred, would be recorded in much more imperishable annals than in his fleeting and transient sentences. He would not, therefore, detain their lordships by dwelling upon them. He could not, however, refrain from noticing, in a rapid glance, some of those events which now presented so gratifying a picture of the state of Europe. Whichever way they turned their regards, they saw the success of the cause of the independence of Europe; they saw the gratifying progress of that spirit which had so admirably combated the power of France; they saw the defection from the side of the French ruler of the Rhenish confederation, led by Bavaria—Bavaria, who had derived her power and her importance, and the solid acquisition of territory, from. France; and yet they saw that these advantages were considered as nothing, in comparison with the mischiefs arising from the domination of France, Such was the spirit that now animated the nations of Europe, and they had seen the glorious results to which it had led. Only a few years since, the power of France overshadowed Europe, and her troops were collected on her coast to be seat forth for the subjugation of Britain now, her armies, every, where defeated, the cause of Europe triumphed., over the power, of France; Spain was delivered from French aggression by British prowess, combined with the valour, of the Spaniards and Portuguese; and the standards, which had been so often crowned with laurel in defeating French aggressions in the peninsula, now waved triumphant on the territory of France. Such was the cheering view of those great and glorious events which now pressed upon us in the full tide of success; such the opening of the new day that now dawned upon Europe, and promised; to chase away the gloom that had, so lately darkened its prospects. He had to apologize to their lordships for having now, for the first time, detained them by his observations; and felt it incumbent upon him to give place to others more entitled, from, greater experience and ability, to press upon their attention.

The Marquis of Wellesley

said, he must have forgotten every principle by which he had ever been actuated, if he did not, with the most cordial, degree of ardour, with the utmost degree of enthusiasm, express his approbation of the whole of the speech delivered that day from the throne, from its commencement to its conclusion. He could not help also expressing his high opinion of the ability displayed by the noble lord by whom the Address had been seconded; that noble lord was the immediate descendant of a great person, between whom and himself there had never subsisted any great degree of intimacy, but for whose character and conduct he had always entertained the highest respect; and he could not omit this occasion of expressing his satisfaction, that his memory was to be so ably represented by the noble lord in that House. He was anxious to take the earliest opportunity of expressing his satisfaction at the important events alluded to in his Royal Highness's speech, by which the destinies of Europe had been changed. He wished to state before he sat down, why that satisfaction which he felt in common with the country at large, was with him a principle, and not a sentiment. It was not so much because these events had raised the military reputation of this country and of our allies, or depressed that of the military despot to whom we were opposed, that they had the highest value in his eyes; but because they were the natural result of wise and cautious measures, executed with the greatest degree of vigour, and displaying a wisdom of combination, and prudence of plan which could not fail, ultimately, to be rewarded with the success by which they were attended. He would not now dwell on the errors committed in former periods by this country, or by the allies; but he would not hesitate to say, that he was convinced the glorious successes which had lately crowned our arms in Spain, and the arms of our allies in the North of Europe, were to be traced to the long train of persevering councils persisted in by the government of this country. Though these councils had not always immediately produced the results which were expected by those who entertained them, they were not the less the cause of what had ultimately taken place. The long perseverance of this country showed, in the most convincing manner, the disposition which pervaded all ranks and conditions of its inhabitants. While we were endeavouring to catch the last breath of expiring opposition, and exerting ourselves in a struggle apparently hopeless, at that moment the public councils of this country were of the utmost importance to European liberty; for an opportunity was thus given to the rest of Europe to reconsider their former errors, and to learn that great lesson which the example of Britain afforded them. Nothing could be more true than the last words which that great statesman, Mr. Pitt, ever delivered in public, "that England had saved herself by her firmness, and had saved other nations by her example." What a satisfactory and consoling reflection it was for us, that from this original fountain the sacred waters of gladness and glory had flowed, which at last overspread the greatest part of Europe; that to the persevering spirit of this country it was owing, that other nations were at last animated to deeds worthy of the noble cause in which they were engaged, and of the great example which was set them. He gave his most cordial assent to the Address; but he wished it to be understood, that while he agreed that the government of this country should afford every supply necessary for the effectual aiding and assisting of our allies, they ought to look substantially to the great object which they were asserting and defending, the independence of those powers who were engaged in the present contest, and not undertake objects of a more impolitic and unjustifiable nature. (Hear, hear!) He approved in the most cordial manner of the general tone in which certain subjects were expressed in the Speech; and beyond that general statement he thought it would not be prudent to proceed at present. To enter into particulars, and to state details, would be the height of presumption, imprudence, and folly; as it was impossible they could know at present in what manner circumstances might vary. He therefore applauded the prudent and guarded manner in which the sentiments delivered from the throne were expressed. Nothing could be more prudent in the present circumstances of the case. Let the noble lords and their colleagues proceed in that course which had hitherto been attended with such marked success, and they would receive the approbation of all those who had sincerely at heart the honour and glory of England and the security of Europe.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex said, it was impossible for him to find terms sufficiently ardent to congratulate the House and the country on the events of which they had so lately received the gratifying intelligence. To the satisfaction which he felt on this occasion, it was no small addition to reflect on the aid which we had afforded to Spain and Portugal, the effect of which had been so great on all Europe. It was also most satisfactory to see the unanimity and concord among the great confederate sovereigns in the north of Europe, displayed in their counsels and their actions, which afforded the best proof of the sincerity and moderation of their intentions. He could not express the sentiments which he felt toward the emperor of Russia, and the Crown Prince of Sweden; nor would, it be proper to particularize, where all bad shone so conspicuously; but that perseverance which had been shown in resisting the aggressions of France by the emperor Alexander, and that promptitude and skill with which the Crown Prince had conducted the recent military operations, which were so strikingly manifested in his turning the Saxon artillery against the French, would not allow him to be silent. His Royal Highness concluded by saying, that he should not longer detain their lordships, but that he should have felt it improper not to have testified his sympathy in the general joy.

Lord Grenville

addressed the House to the following effect;—

My lords: I might, perhaps, in common with many of your lordships, think it unnecessary to trouble the House with any expressions of my sentiments, had I not felt, from the moment the glorious intelligence recently received, was, obtained, a most earnest anxiety to be present on this occasion, and to offer to parliament my warm congratulations upon the successes that have crowned the efforts of this country; I was desirous to attend in my place, not certainly expecting that any differences of opinion would arise upon the various interesting topics of the Address; on the contrary, I anticipated, what I have the satisfaction to find confirmed, the complete and cordial concurrence of this House in that point, which justly formed the leading and capital feature of the Speech from the throne. I am happy, however, in availing myself of this opportunity of stating, not merely my acquiescence in the general sentiment, but my entire approbation of the tone and language of the Speech delivered this day by his Royal Highness to parliament. I think it but justice to say, that, in my opinion, there never were delivered from the throne, sentiments better adapted for the occasion, couched in terms better selected for the purpose. It is to me a great gratification at all times to bear my humble testimony to the propriety of any proceeding; but it is more particularly welcome to me at a time like the present, because, although I come here to discharge a common duty, I come here at no common moment; the crisis is now arrived when the mighty object, to which our wishes have been so long and so painfully directed, is near its accomplishment. From the moment when the inauspicious treaty of Basle was promulgated and known (I speak of an event that took place twenty years ago, the confederacy of the powers of Europe to resist France), those at the head of the diplomacy of the French empire have pursued with undeviating perseverance one fixed principle, which, in my judgment, contributed much more to her subsequent progress, than any boasted or real military pre-eminence, however great it may occasionally have been. I speak of that uniform system of separation and disunion by which she but too successfully laboured to sever and alienate those powers which, had they rightly understood their mutual interests, ought to have been fastened together by one common bond, for the defence of their freedom and independence, against the unceasing and reiterated aggressions of France (hear, hear!). I need scarcely remind you, my lords, (indeed the Commemoration might by some be deemed a reproach) in detail of all the artifices of French diplomacy; I need not certainly recal to your recollections the unhappy success by which they were usually attended. It is unnecessary that I should shew how often, by the delusive prospect of some peculiar and separate advantage; by the vain hope of some spoliation of an unoffending neighbour; by the idle offer of a share in the territory of some defenceless state; by the seductive promise of a participation in the plunder of some weaker power, France has been able to withdraw from the general league, and even to enlist in her cause, those whose very existence (as experience has Unfortunately shewn) depended upon a firm resistance to her insinuating encroachments. So painful must be the retrospection, that I would not now refer to it, were it not in the hope that a better blessing may be drawn from the remembrance. I would not turn my eyes upon the dark and dreary prospects of the past, did it not brighten by contrast the gratifying views of the future, where we see all those powers, formerly the victims of French chicanery and imposition, who had been deprived of their safety, their security, and their tranquillity, having returned to a due sense of their mutual interests, revenging themselves upon their oppressors for the wrongs they had been by artifice compelled to endure. Now then, my lords, we may triumphantly ask, is this the peculiar and separate cause of Great Britain?—No. Is this a contest merely respecting commercial prosperity, and the comparatively inferior concerns of trade?—No. We fight for that, for which we always professed that we fought: we arm for that for which we always boasted that we armed: we have maintained the contest for those objects for which we always declared that we maintained it;—viz. as the only possible mode of asserting the independence of other states; and, through their independence, of supporting: our own—(Hear, hear!) The period has now arrived, when all Europe with one voice, assents to the truth of our assertion; and though it be indeed late, yet, with the blessing of Heaven, it will not be too late for the full accomplishment of our great and benevolent design. Will then, my lords, this retrospection to the wily and too successful expedients of our enemy, create painful sensations in your minds? Surely not. On the contrary, does it not add to the overflowing sentiments of exultation at the achievements of our allies, when we see Europe at length united, I hope indissolubly, in a steady perseverance in those means which alone can afford it security and peace? It has been to us long manifest, that it was only by continued resistance, by the sacrifice of all partial views and interests, by a determination to pursue just measures and common objects, that the mighty fabric of French power (which had been long augmented by the ruins of neighbouring states) was to be demolished, and reduced to such limits as were consistent with the security and tranquillity of the other kingdoms of Europe.

There might, my lords, rationally, exist variations of opinion as to the line of conduct which this country ought originally to have held; but I never heard the whisper of, a difference of sentiment—I believe a doubt never entered the mind of man, as to the steps she ought to take, now that the moment is arrived when the consummation of our wishes is at hand. Knowing, therefore, as all must necessarily be aware, that at this grand moment, when the fate of Europe is depending, the anxious eyes of so many nations are fixed upon the first deliberations of the British parliament: knowing too, that the enemies of this new and victorious confederation, if possible with still more painful expectation, are waiting to hear the opinions declared and the language employed here upon this day; I feel it to be the duty, not merely of those who stand in the prominent situations of government, but of every man accustomed to take part in the debates of this House, to come forward and proclaim, distinctly and unequivocally, his sentiments upon this mighty subject: however humble his station, and however weak his sentiments, still they cannot, at this crisis, be a matter of indifference. As to arrangements of domestic policy, there, may be conflicting sentiments; in a free country there must unavoidably exist personal predilections and political unions; but upon, this, grand question all party conflicts must be swallowed up and lost: it is the cause of no party, of no set of individuals, but of the whole nation, joined in sentiment and inaction, to effect a great; and glorious purpose. (Hear, hear!) So long as the great powers of Europe confederated in this mighty cause (as has been well expressed in the Speech from the throne) shall persevere with unshaken firmness, to the sacrifice of all partial views and separate interests, in attempting the full accomplishment of what appears so near its completion, it equally concerns the welfare and the interest of Great Britain to strain every nerve, and to call forth every energy. Upon this point the royal Address is prudently guarded, and an acquiescence in it pledges no opinion adverse to the re-establishment of peace. God forbid that, in applauding the policy pursued, and in recommending a vigorous perseverance in the system, I should be understood as uttering any sentiment hostile to the re-establishment of tranquility. Peace is the dearest blessing that a government can bestow on a nation over which it presides. Internal tranquility may be considered as the first, and external peace as the second blessing that any power under Heaven can confer upon a people. This assertion is not only correct at all times, but more particularly true in the present situation of Europe: after the miseries that it has recently endured; after the long series of calamities with which it has been afflicted by the insatiable ambition of the ruler of France, it would be more than ever, welcome: in the history of this country, or of Europe, where can a period be named, when the sufferings of the people more strenuously called for a restoration of tranquility? To Great Britain, most assuredly, though bending under, yet cheerfully supporting, the unavoidable burdens of war; to our allies, whom no man will charge with too great precipitation in commencing hostilities, or with too extensive ambition in prosecuting them, no man will deny that peace will be inexpressibly grateful, provided it can be secured upon terms becoming the lofty and imposing attitude that recent, exertions have enabled them to assume. Not even in the country of France, do I believe, that there exists more than one man who does not anxiously and earnestly desire the cessation of the horrors occasioned by a state of warfare—(hear, hear)—But I trust, it is understood, that when we desire tranquility, we expect the real blessing of peace, not the empty name; not the shadow, but the substance. Too long did deluded Europe, by temporary and partial truces, by concession following concession, purchase from the insatiable enemy a precarious quiet, a troubled sleep; furnishing to her foe the very means of his aggression, and of her own subjugation.

The time, my lords, is now arrived (and I rejoice that I have lived to see the hour) when the walls of a British parliament may again re-echo a sound formerly held sacred in this country, and upon the observance of which, I will venture to assert, depends the hope of the restoration of peace to Europe: I allude to the old-fashioned term now almost forgotten, of a Balance of Power in Europe; and I offer up my thanks, with humble gratitude, to the Supreme Disposer of Events, that after so long a period he has permitted me to behold my native land in such a commanding situation, as to be able again to pursue that which ought to be the only legitimate object of foreign policy; I mean the establishment and preservation of a balance of power in Europe—(hear, hear, hear!) Often as the subject has been discussed and disputed, in my opinion, we ought not to consider the state and resources of another kingdom with any other view than this; that such limits may be assigned to the power of a nation, that it shall not be able to pursue any schemes of unjust aggrandisement which would destroy the equilibrium that ought invariably to be preserved. As to the debasement of the power or the degradation of the honour of any nation, that ought not to be our object; such a design would be a degradation to ourselves: we ought only to maintain that for which our ancestors shed their blood; which at former periods, and in the best times of English history, was held sacred, was never entirely abandoned, and only temporarily relinquished, because the then suppliant nations of the continent refused to unite for its maintenance. Now, however, the day-star of freedom once more dawns upon Europe—the night of ignorance and slavery is fast withdrawing, and a glorious day of liberty and happiness is promised to the awakening world. Now, then, let Great Britain resume her ancient policy: let her once more perceive, that the only mode by which the independence of the great commonwealth of Europe can be secured, is not by perpetual peace, for that is the visionary dream of visionary men; but by the maintenance of the balance of power, by which even in war itself the weak will find refuge from their oppressors.—(Hear, hear!)—Such is, in my opinion, the true object for the attainment of which this country is now called upon to exert her energies; such is the object for the attainment of which, in my judgment, no sacrifices will be too great: by that alone can domestic security be obtained; by that we shall firmly grasp the substance instead of being idly deluded by the shadow, and shall for ourselves and other nations acquire the inestimable blessing of lasting tranquility.

With respect, my lords, to the detail of particular measures; from entering upon them, the Speech has with great propriety abstained: upon them it would be more unfit that I should now dilate; but I desire to assure the House (as may be collected from the sentiments I have to-day expressed, if indeed it was not to be gathered from the whole tenor of my life), that whatever plans may be suggested, having these objects in view, I shall meet them with a most earnest wish to find that they are compatible with the interests of the country. I cannot be ignorant of the difficulties that may be opposed, and upon them it would be equally premature to offer any opinion; I do; however, fervently hope—nay I believe, that they may be surmounted; and when they are produced, I shall apply myself to them with an anxious wish that I may be able to give them my zealous support. I have now stated to the House what, I think, ought to be the policy of England, and I have hinted at the mode by which that, policy ought to be pursued: there is but one course; and that is, the exertion of every means this country can employ—of influence, of persuasion, and even of power, if it be found necessary, to cement and unite the great confederacy now existing (hear, hear!)—Such is the happy situation of this island, that to discharge the functions she is called upon by Europe to perform, no other nation possesses equal advantages: in whatever disputes may arise, the continental powers must, in a greater or less degree, be interested. This country alone has no concern in such particular interests; she is the fit arbiter of all; and by whatever particular arrangements the balance of power is secured; her only care need be, that so beneficial an objects should be ultimately accomplished. I therefore cannot too fervently or strongly in press upon the House, that in this view the balance of power should be the polar star that is to guide us in all our movements. It would naturally give me the deepest concern, if, in these various undertakings, the seeds of jealousy and disunion were unfortunately to spring up; yet still we should have but one steady even course to pursue, not favouring either one party or the other; our object must be, to combine all Europe by the strongest link of union; by effecting which, we may look for the speedy completion of those great designs, the mere hope of which, a few months ago, was considered as little better than a dream of insanity. I have said, my lords, that in the character of umpire which Great Britain would assume, we ought generally to be guided by the strictest impartiality; but if there be any exception to this rule, if there be one part of the continent occupied by France, to which, we might be justified in looking with peculiar interest, with something like paternal concern, it would be for the re-establishment of the independence of Holland. Among all the powers sacrificed to the inordinate ambition of Buonaparté, I know of none—Holland excepted—that can truly assert they, fell victims to their alliance with Great Britain. In the hour of danger, threatened, by an overwhelming force, Holland looked to this country for aid; and could any assistance have availed, this nation, I am convinced, would have made any sacrifice to save its falling friend. It has been well said, that this is not the fit period for talking of specific terms of peace; that this country must not pledge itself to do more than it can achieve, or to disappoint expectation by announcing what the course of events may prevent her from accomplishing; but intending on this day, my lords, to deliver, though in brief, a summary of what I conceive most important to be attempted, I feel that I should not have fully, discharged my duty, or completely satisfied my own mind, if I did, not express my opinion, that of all the consequences of success which Great Britain may contemplate, in the height of her exultation, there is none to which she ought to direct a more anxious eye, and none for which she ought to make, greater sacrifices, or which would more redound to her honour and promote her interests, than, the re-establishment of the Republic of Holland on such a basis as to enable her to resume the situation she formerly held among the powers of Europe.

My lords, we have recently witnessed what has been justly termed a success even beyond those expectations which the confederation of the allied powers would inspire. If it be the will of Providence, that the tide shall now turn, and that it shall pursue a direction opposite to that which since the year 1793 it has regularly kept; if we may now hope to resume that influence on the continent which we formerly enjoyed, to which the struggle we long almost singly maintained, to which the powerful assistance we have afforded to the common cause, to which the uprightness and disinterestedness of our motives entitles us, we may with gratifying, but not arrogant self-complacence, discharge those duties, which, while they promote and secure the permanent interests of our own country, are not less conducive to the general welfare and prosperity of continental Europe. I am aware, that this is a point on which it would be highly injudicious for any member of the executive government to express an opinion; and I therefore do not desire that any remark should be made in reply to this part of the subject; but I think it is due to that unhappy nation suffering such unmerited oppression from its attachment to England, that it should see, that at the moment when we are anticipating the period when we shall resume our influence on the continent, her peculiar claims have not been forgotten in the British parliament.

One word more, and I have done: it is to conjure you (I hope it is unnecessary) not to do me the great injustice of believing, that the opinions I have just uttered are the result merely of the exultation and triumph so justly felt in consequence of the recent welcome and unexpected intelligence. Undoubtedly, such events are calculated to warm the heart of every individual, who feels not only for the natural rights of man, but for the independence of nations: undoubtedly it does inspire me with fresh hopes and increasing confidence, that the glorious harvest is at hand, when we are to reap the fruits of all our toils, and of all our privations I look forward with joy to the approaching re-establishment of many warlike and independent nations, when they will throw off the galling yoke that has pressed them to the ground, but has hot broken their spirit. But, my lords, I do not wish you (nor have I myself so acted) to form opinions merely by recent events; those who, like me, have watched the whole course of these proceedings; those who have heard my opinions in their parallel to those proceedings; those with whom I have held conversation since the commencement of the confederation; those with whom, for the last fortnight, I have been in the habit of confidential communication upon the subject of the line of conduct I should this day pursue, know that my deliberate opinion, that the existence of such a confederacy, acting on no partial and contracted, views, but pursuing one general object, of itself irresistibly called upon Great Britain to employ all her energies, and to devote all her exertions to the success of a common and a glorious cause—(Hear, hear, hear!)—Such was the sentiment I was prepared to express before the glad tidings last received were obtained; and I was prepared to add an exhortation, that, as the chances of war must necessarily be precarious, you would prepare yourselves to meet with firmness those disasters which human foresight could not predict, and which human wisdom could not prevent. Even under circumstances that, with some, might seem almost to justify the confidence of certainty, I now offer that exhortation. If, in the course of human events (although I see little cause to fear), any unforeseen calamity should unfortunately occur, remember the glorious cause in which you are engaged: it may for an instant damp your hopes; but let it not damp your ardour, or shake your resolution (Hear, hear, hear!) Be assured, my lords, of this (I hope you are already assured of it), that there is for this country no separate safety, no separate peace There is neither safety nor peace for England, but with the safety and peace of Europe. (Hear, hear!) As for continental Europe, it is equally true, that an indissoluble union, a firm confederation, in conjunction with this country, can only secure for all liberty, tranquillity and happiness; can only obtain peace, now almost beyond the memory of living man. The plain duty of this country, placing its trust in Providence, is, to improve, by every possible exertion, the bright prospect that lies before us: with the energies of Great Britain, duly applied, ultimate success may be confidently anticipated; we may now look forward to the speedy accomplishment of that great purpose, for the attainment of which we have already sacrificed, performed, and endured so much; and for which we are still ready to sacrifice, perform and endure.

The Earl of Liverpool

said, that if any thing could add to the gratifying feelings which recent, events were so calculated to produce, it would be, what had just passed in that House. The events which had taken place in Spain and Germany were most important in themselves, and in the consequences to which they would necessarily lead; but they were not more important, than that England and the confederate powers, and all Europe, should see, that as to the great cause a spirit of unanimity prevailed in the British parliament. He had received the highest gratification from the speech of the noble baron (lord Grenville) who had just sat down. He had received also the highest personal gratification from the speech of his noble friend (lord Clare) early in the evening, than whom, he would boldly say, no one had ever exhibited greater promise of talents as a first effort, and who, from his eloquence and his sound principles, was so likely to become one of the first ornaments of that House. On such an occasion there were some topics to which the attention of the House was necessarily directed. In this he agreed with the noble baron (lord Grenville), that We had reached a period when the balance of power might, without fear of ridicule, be talked of as the foundation on which might be erected a just and lasting peace. We had seen, during the last 20 years, coalitions, whose size promised strength, crushed by the power of the enemy. What then, we might inquire, was this new life which has given an irresistible impulse to the present confederacy of the northern nations? The feeling of national independence, that sentiment which impels all men to stand before the liberties of their countries. This feeling, which first arose in the nations of the peninsula, gave the war a new character, and afforded grounds to hope not only for the deliverance of those nations, but of the rest of Europe. There had before been wars of governments, but none like this between nations; and all our principles of policy and prudence must have been belied, if the issue of the present confederacy had not been very different from that of any of the former ones. They had before them instances of perseverance unexampled in any other cause than that of liberty;—they had seen nations, the least military of Europe, become formidable, and successfully resist the best disciplined troops of France. Small as that country was in comparison of some other nations of Europe, yet the establishment of the armies of Portugal was of the greatest consequence; as the foundation of the success of the allied armies in the peninsula; and as it gave, in addition to the general national feeling, a military tone, under the influence of which the Portuguese troops have been raised to an equality with the British. They had seen the Spanish armies employed, not only on the defensive, but in offensive operations, in a most critical moment, in which they had displayed the greatest steadiness. These happy effects had sprung from that feeling of national independence, which had been nurtured by the best blood of this country. He was advancing no paradox, but an opinion the truth of which was felt and admitted on the continent, when he said that the success of the cause of the peninsula gave new life to the suffering nations of Europe. Under the influence of this example, the greatest efforts of France had been frustrated; an army, large beyond example, annihilated, and the independence of the Russian empire vindicated. There were reasons why the feeling of independence could not extend to Germany so readily as to the other powers of Europe; not from any want of military spirit, but from peculiarities in the constitutions of its different states; and if it had been asked, to what state of Europe this spirit would have last manifested itself, he should have answered, the Prussian monarchy. But far otherwise had the event proved; for never did any exertions in the cause of Independence surpass those of the Prussian people in the present struggle. He did not speak of the talents of their generals, or the zeal of their monarch, but of the sentiments which pervaded every individual in that country. It was to be inquired, what advantages were to be reaped from our successes, and what means were taken to give them effect. The continental powers were all made acquainted, with the views of Great Britain; and there was not one of them that did not acknowledge them to be reasonable, moderate, and just; and on the ground of these acknowledged views were the efforts towards a general peace to be regulated. Where there were powers, of such different interests engaged in a coalition, their confederacy was liable to accidents which would place them in disadvantageous circumstances, and these chances augmented in proportion to the extent of the confederacy; on this account a knowledge of common principles was most necessary. If for a moment they reviewed the events of the present campaign, the manner in which the operations were conducted, and especially that desperate movement, the passage of the Scale, and the manœuvres which ensued, we should be filled with sentiments of admiration. Notwithstanding these glorious successes, a successful termination of the war was only to be looked for from a vigorous continuance of the efforts which had been made. This was the great crisis, not only of Great Britain, but of Europe.—"God forbid," said the noble earl, "that in these efforts we should depart from political justice and moderation." These principles, he continued, should never be lost sight of; but it became us to be more moderate, as we were more vigorous. He agreed in this with the noble baron (lord Grenville), who thought that some fixed and certain terms of peace should be abided by—terms consistent with justice to all parties—with justice not only to our friends, but to our enemies. (Hear!) We should not ask from our enemies such terms, as in their situation we should not think reasonable to concede. (Hear, hear!) There was no principle on which to prosecute the war, but a desire to obtain a peace, by which a fair addition of strength should be made to those powers which had suffered in the contest.

The question was then put and carried unanimously.

The Earl of Liverpool

rose to propose, that lord Walsingham be re-appointed Chairman of Committees; it was needless to say, that no one could be better qualified than the noble earl to fill that office.

The Lord Chancellor

bore testimony to the qualifications of lord Walsingham for the office to which it was proposed to re-appoint him.

Lord Walsingham was accordingly appointed Chairman, and said a few words which we could not hear at the bar.